Sunday, March 31, 2019

Time Tango

Last night we changed our clocks for Daylight Savings Time. We sprang forward and lost an hour.

Yesterday at this time it was almost 11.














After not doing the 'Time Tango' twice a year for 7 years while living in Arizona, returning to DST here in Switzerland has taken some getting used to.

We're not alone in our struggles to adjust. Apparently, an overwhelming number of Swiss want to abolish DST for various reasons, not the least of which is the impact it has on the cows!











The one hour change in time apparently affects milking schedules to the point that farmers saw that it was worthy of a national vote in 1978. 52% of Swiss voters approved a measure to get rid of DST. The Swiss didn't have it for one year, in 1980, but reinstated it in 1981 after it was found to be too confusing and economically challenging to not be in the same time zone as the neighboring countries.

But DST is not very popular with the EU either. In fact, in a recent survey of 4.6 million people across Europe 84% backed a move to abolish DST.  The move was approved by the President of the European Commission, and scheduled to start March 2019.

Then why did we change our clocks last night? Apparently as the deadline drew near, the EU legislative body decided that it was too ambitious, so the change has been pushed back two years to April 2021. For now, the Swiss will stay 'in time' with the EU as they continue their 'Tango'.

spring forward 
fall back
six month dance

continue or not
various voters 
take a stance
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Don't You Dare Rock Your Roll!

First of all, where does the time go? Seriously, I have every intention of posting every weekend and somehow  two weeks go by in the blink of an eye. How?

Ok, enough lamenting about my mysteriously disappearing hours...I'm here now.

Today I am sharing with you a quintessential Swiss experience.

Through a series of events I ended up with a pair of tickets to a Motown concert. I was supposed to go with a work colleague, but that fell through so it was Joe to the rescue! A date night was born. Yay!

The show was incredible!
















The music!
















The lights!

The show(wo)manship!

But watching this amazing spectacle in a Swiss audience was the most interesting part of the evening. First of all, it was in a seated theater venue, which was fine, but at the beginning of the show there was a list of rules. Because what is a Swiss event without rules to dictate how you will experience it?

The most important rule was to not stand or dance at your seat. At a concert! At a Motown concert! If you wanted to dance you had to go to the side aisles and boogie against a wall.

The Swiss take their rules very seriously. If you notice in the pictures above, the audience remained seated. For. The. Whole. Concert. A handful of brave souls shook their groove things on the side aisles, but the rest of the sold out audience remained seated, most of them stock still. Literally. No head bobbing. No clapping. No movement.

Lucky for me (though unlucky for the Swiss audience members behind me I suppose), the woman next to me was imbibing and really got into the music which allowed me to let my funky flag fly with my best seated dance moves. I head and shoulder bobbed. I clapped and snapped. I MOVED! We had a good time despite the prevailing Swiss cultural norms.

And I have to give props to the singers and musicians for giving such a high energy show to such a subdued and repressed Swiss crowd. Bravo!

Today's poem is dedicated to the rock-n-rolling stranger next to me:
My money was well spent
at this Swiss concert event 
because of your claps and snaps
among your compatriots' naps.
Thank you!
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

When the Kid was Away...

...the parents did play.

So Maureen had a coding workshop at Google in Zurich over the weekend.

We were there.
Initial trepidation.
Successful completion.
And while she worked all weekend, Joe and I played. Even though Zurich is only about an hour away from our house by train, we rarely spend time there other than to go to/from the airport or meet up with visitors for an afternoon. Since Maureen had to be at her workshop all day on both Saturday and Sunday, Joe and I decided to make a vacation out of our visit. We got a dog sitter for Smidgey, rented an Airbnb in the heart of the city, and wandered around Zurich (in the rain and cold!) looking for the off beat. And we found it.

First off, Zurich has A LOT of restaurants. Most are way out of our price range (not hard to do as Zurich is the second most expensive city in the world, only outranked by Singapore) but many have some clever names. Reading signs is free. Here is a sampling of the wordplay and creative spelling we discovered while checking out the city:
Not a place for vegetarians I'd assume.

Presumably a healthy menu.







Get it?
Then, being atypical tourist types (technically semi locals) we looked up weird and off-the-beaten-path attractions in Zurich. And we found some interesting stuff.

For example, we visited a public park that was created from an old machine factory called MFO Park. On the site a 100+ year old factory used to stand. Now the frame of the factory is visible with multiple vine trellises growing every which way.





















You can go inside and walk around. In fact, it has four different levels...

...with a common area in the middle.


From the rooftop level.
Down a corridor.
Unfortunately, it is still winter, so the vines are not completely filled out and the building is not completely covered like it will be in the spring/summer. But for a split second we did get a splash of sunshine on some vines:
Sun hitting the green of the vines.





















Mostly the weekend was cold, wet and miserable:
Joe bracing in the wind.
Me seeking 'shelter' from the elements.
But rather than complain and hide from the rain, we sought out more rainy day reminders. In fact, one train stop away from the park there is a restaurant that has a famous canopy of umbrellas that you can dine under:




















But, being that it was a Sunday in Switzerland, the restaurant was of course closed. Classic. :(

Then down the street we found an interesting urban garden/shopping/cafe complex that is being constructed out of shipping containers.

A huge elevated ship adds to the ambiance.


Last, but not least, we found an odd, popup flea market. While walking along in the neighborhood where our Airbnb was, we stumbled upon some spray painted signs:

We followed the signs...
... a long hallway with a radio playing music.
And being the people we are, we walked into a weird old building where we found...












We walked through the hallway until we entered an enormous warehouse where we found a huge eclectic collection of stuff - all for sale:
Glassware.
Random everything.
Wooden boxes...
...from someone who drank a lot of wine.




Upon leaving the warehouse things got really, really weird. In front of a surf shop - which is pretty weird in and of its self considering it is in landlocked Switzerland - we noticed something spray painted on the sidewalk. Actually there were many of this "thing" painted along the sidewalk creating a trail that covered 2 city blocks.









Unfortunately, I can not describe what was painted on the sidewalk here, except to say that it is not suitable for a children's blog. If you email me direct I will tell you about this funny, albeit really weird, discovery (with pictures!) How's that for piquing your interest?

I highly recommend Zurich as a destination, but please look around. There is a lot happening off-the-beaten path that can make for a great adventure.

dashing between deluge
and drizzle
we discovered 
the unorthodox 
in the deluxe 
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

This Place Is Getting Nutty

A few weeks ago, while walking Smidgey, we came upon this tree:












That had these faces on it:
and
He has 2 noses!
Then a week or so later we saw this tree:



















All the nuttiness came to a head (see what I did there?) this weekend as Switzerland celebrated Fasnacht. Basically, Fasnacht is Carnival, the lead up to Lent and a reason for the Swiss to let loose. Which is what they have been doing since Thursday. The revelry includes parades, parties and costumed debauchery. I witnessed a group of 10 or so middle aged people (men and women) wearing matching cowboy costumes doing shots on the train at noon.

Joe, Mo, and I got in the spirit of Fasnacht (without the shots!) by attending a huge village parade:
Joe's new 'do', B the bee, and Mo in her squid hat.
Squid-bee hybrid.
The parade was well attended:











And well decorated:
An actual confetti cannon coming out of a giant birthday cake.


















But the nuttiness of Switzerland isn't only relegated to Fasnacht.

I've discovered the Swiss like nuts on their playing cards. In fact, one of the suits is Eicheln (acorns):











And a favorite beer brewed in neighboring Luzern is Eichhof which translates to 'oak courtyard'.
I love that they use the squirrel on the label. Squirrel is Eichhörnchen in German.

Notice the repetition of the word EICH? A nutty theme emerges...


Fasnacht
a time to be
off your nut
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.